Ontario Independent

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Embiid’s dagger in overtime gives the Sixers a 3-0 series lead against the Raptors

Sixers take a 3-0 series lead against Raptors after Embiid's dagger in overtime.
  • The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Toronto Raptors 104-101 in overtime on Wednesday to grab a 3-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
  • The Raptors took an early 17-point lead, looking like the team that had won 14 of their previous 18 games.
  • Achiuwa missed a pair of free throws with 27.2 seconds left, but Toronto tightened up on defense to force overtime with the game tied 95-95.

On Wednesday, the Philadelphia 76ers won 104-101 in overtime to take a 3-0 lead in their first-round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors. Joel Embiid hit a game-winning three-pointer with 0.8 seconds left in OT.

Embiid finished with 33 points as well as 13 rebounds, spoiling the Raptors’ first playoff game in three years in Toronto.

The Raptors led by as multiple as 17 points thanks to OG Anunoby’s 26 points. Gary Trent Jr. scored a career-high 24 points in the playoffs despite being sick for the prior week.

Precious Achiuwa led the Raptors with 20 points, while Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet scored 12 for the Raptors, who were without NBA rookie of the year finalist Scottie Barnes.

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The Raptors jumped out to a 17-point lead early on, finally looking like the team that had won 14 of their last 18 games. In the first half, they shot 52.4 percent and forced 15 turnovers from Philadelphia.

On the other hand, the Raptors were flat in the third quarter, shooting just 1-for-7 from outside the arc, and the Sixers had climbed to within 75-74 with one quarter to play when Embiid connected on a free throw with 5.5 seconds left in the period.

Neither team led by more than three points in a tense fourth quarter until VanVleet found Anunoby in the corner for a long bomb, and Achiuwa added a putback for a five-point lead with two minutes left.

With 49.7 seconds left, Harden’s free throw knotted the game. The former NBA MVP fouled out of the game 20 seconds later, with the rowdy crowd cheering him off the court.

With 27.2 seconds left, Achiuwa missed a pair of free throws, but Toronto tightened down on defense to force overtime with the game tied 95-95.

With 2:58 left in the extra frame, Anunoby made a clutch basket as the shot clock rang out to give Philly a one-point lead, but Embiid responded to put Philly back up. With 26.2 seconds left, Embiid fouled Anunoby and converted one of his two free throws while a furious Sixers coach, Doc Rivers, yelled at the official.

With 2.6 seconds left, Green inbounded the ball, and Embiid scored the game-winning shot, sending Raptors fans home heartbroken.

For Game 4, the Raptors should get some reinforcements. According to coach Nick Nurse, Barnes, who hurt his left ankle in Game 1, is expected to play on Saturday. On the bench on Wednesday, the finalist for rookie of the year wasn’t wearing a walking boot and was on his feet applauding for much of the game.

The Raptors hadn’t played in the playoffs in Toronto since Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, a one-point loss to Golden State in which Kevin Durant’s Achilles tendon burst.

Sixers take a 3-0 series lead against Raptors after Embiid's dagger in overtime.
Sixers take a 3-0 series lead against Raptors after Embiid’s dagger in overtime. Image from wikiMaster.in

Last season, the Raptors were exiled in Tampa, Fla., due to border limitations, then COVID-19 forced the 2020 season to conclude in the NBA bubble at Disneyworld. Last season, they tumbled down the standings after a COVID outbreak in March, finishing 12th for the first time in their nine-year history.

The 76ers rolled to comfortable victories in Games 1 and 2 with scores of 131-11 and 112-97, respectively.

On Wednesday, the Raptors sprinted out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter, forcing the Sixers to commit nine turnovers. In the first game, Philadelphia only held the ball four times.

Anunoby scored 10 points in the 1st quarter, and his three-pointer with 31 seconds left put the Raptors ahead 29-19 going into the second.

The Raptors went on a 9-2 run to take a 17-point lead in the second quarter, but the Sixers fought back, and Harden’s driving layup with 1:40 left cut the lead to just six points.

There were a few tense moments in the quarter. After Embiid went out of bounds as though blown over by a gust of wind, VanVleet was whistled for a foul and then given a technical for furiously disputing the call.

Green was given a technical for disputing a call, and it took a pair of two-handed chest shoves from Harden to get Green to leave the court and march toward the Philadelphia bench.

If required, Game 5 will be played in Philadelphia on Monday.

Source: CTV news

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